Our favorite Mexican restaurant serves scrumptious food in the most unassuming and unexpected, almost secret location. It’s a local favorite and is always busy. This restaurant is where I first tasted dishes prepared with a generous amount of Mexican Oregano, also known as Lippia Graveolens. It is an intriguing and subtle layer of flavor that adds a unique and delicious freshness. Mexican Oregano is from the verbena plant family, unlike Italian oregano, which has a separate, distinct flavor and plant source. Mexican Oregano grows in the southern U.S., Mexico and Central America and is actually used in many cuisines.
Now~ here we are nearing the end of summer with tomatoes ripening seemingly all at once. There is nothing like eating vine or tree-ripened fruits and vegetables, and I especially love vine-ripened tomatoes. Tomatoes layered on sandwiches, as a fresh pizza topping, refreshing gazpacho and salsa are all delicious. Can we ever have too many recipes using fresh tomatoes? Soon it will be time to roast, freeze or can the remaining harvest. With a little experimenting, I was able to use this “new to me” herb, Mexican Oregano, and create a cold summertime, plant-based, veggie chili with colorful, fresh from the garden or farmers market tomatoes, jalapeño and serrano peppers, red and green bell peppers, corn cut from the cob, cilantro and onions.
- 4 Jalapeño Peppers minced ( remove seeds and membrane to reduce heat)
- 4 Serrano Peppers minced (remove seeds and membrane to reduce heat)
- 1 Red Pepper Seeded, Small Dice
- 1 Green Pepper Seeded, Small Dice
- 4 Roma Tomatoes Diced (I chose Romas, but you can use any flavorful tomato you would like. Romas are a dry tomato. Other varieties will add extra juice to your chili)
- 1 C. Corn cooked
- ½ C. Red Onion Small Dice
- 4 Green Onions Small Dice
- ½ C. Cilantro Chopped
- 1 Can Chili Beans Drain just a bit off of the top of the can (I used Black Chili Beans just out of habit. Choose your favorite.)
- 1 Can Beans Rinsed and Drained (I chose Black-eyed peas due to their soft texture)
- 1 Can Green Chilies
- 3 C. Tomato Juice
- 1 Lime Juiced
- 1 TBS Cumin
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 TBS Dried Mexican Oregano
- Cook the corn and set aside to cool.
- To prepare corn on the cob: First remove several husk layers, leaving two or more layers on the cob along with the silk. Microwave corn on the cob for 3 minutes, turning after 1.5 minutes. Remove the hot cob with oven mitt or towel. Slightly peel back the top of the husk and pull up on the silk which should remove almost all silk in one pull. Remove the remaining husk altogether. Finish by standing the cob up on one end and with a sharp knife, cut down the cob to remove the corn.
- Gently warm the spices in a pan on low.
- Add the warm spices to the tomato juice and set aside.
- Prepare the fresh vegetables by washing, dicing, and chopping.
- Drain just the top liquid from the chili beans.
- Drain and rinse 2nd can of beans
- Mix all ingredients and refrigerate to chill. Enjoy!
I did not add salt to my chili as the canned items are salted. If you are fortunate enough to use fresh tomato juice, you may desire added salt. Season to taste. It is ready to eat immediately but will continue to develop a deeper flavor as the ingredients marinate.
Many of the same ingredients are used in the Refreshed Cowboy Caviar. Both are refreshing summer favorites at our house. I hope they are added to you’re list of favorites too!
Enjoy your day, everyone!